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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1886-1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1886-1969

"Less is more."

Along with Le Corbusier, no other name is more inextricably linked to the Modernist movement than that of Mies van der Rohe (born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies). German by blood, but a towering figure in American architecture, Mies’ lasting cultural contributions may easily be summed up in three indelible symbols of 20th Century design: an exalted skyscraper (New York City's Seagram Building); a storied private residence (Plano, Illinois' Farnsworth House); and a transcendent piece of furniture (the Barcelona Chair). A key figure in Germany’s Bauhaus school, Mies immigrated to the U.S. in 1938, and, as director of the architecture department at Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology (now Illinois Institute of Technology), was tasked with transforming the institute’s campus. The commission would give Chicago its stately Crown Hall, among other Mies buildings, widely considered his American masterpiece—and spawn projects, including Fansworth House and the Seagram Building, that would ensure his place amongst modern architecture's most revered names. Chicago would prove fortuitous in another respect: Among Mies' students at IIT was Florence Knoll, who would count Mies as her greatest esthetic influence—and years later, would cajole him into ceding production of his Barcelona furniture collection exclusively to Knoll.